Thursday, May 26, 2011

100% Love Review

Throughout the years, whether you're a girl or a boy, there are certain phrases that you are bound to here. "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", "Its easy to go the moon than to figure out a girl's heart" and "Boys are the most confused creatures" in the world to name just a few. Now these are said with good humour and are clearly not the norm but when it comes to love, everybody has an opinion about it. Sukumar is the kind of director that likes to take a different angle on everything and has done the same with his latest 100% Love. With Devi Sri Prasad on music, Naga Chaitanya and Tamannaah play the lead in this Geetha Arts production. So let's jump and check it out.

Meet Balu Mahendra [Naga Chaitanya]. State level tenth standard first rank holder, state level Intern first rank holder, MCET first rank holder and according to him, he is a genius and a brand name. The only thing bigger than his record is his ego. Enter Mahalakshmi [Tamannaah], his maradalu [marriagable cousin] from his home town in the village. A country belle smitten about her Balu Bava, she comes to the city to complete her higher education and stays with Balu and his family. While the family already adores Mahalakshmi, its going to take more than looking cute for her to get on her Balu Bava's good side. For his part, Balu with his head is firmly in the sky, doesn't look at anything beyond her second class ranking and dismisses her promptly. She decides to stick to her studying but becomes frantic in her exam and breaks down crying. Mahalakshmi runs out of the exam and says to her Balu's father, her uncle[Naresh] that she is going to fail and she wants to just go back to her hometown when surprisingly, Balu steps in. Ignorant to her and her emotions as Balu may have been, he decides to help her out of pity. And so with his guidance, her own effort and a bit praying by the whole family to Ganesha, Mahalakshmi sits for the exams. But much to Balu's absolute disbelief, she doesn't just pass. She takes over his coveted first rank. Balu becomes furious at the humiliation while everyone else is applauding her. But he isn't one to let the humiliation last long so he puts in the extra hours to study and in the process, purposefully distracts Mahalakshmi from her own without her realising. Yet just before he can bask in his glory, Mahalakshmi realises his plan and starts her own cat and mouse game to even the grounds. D-day arrives after the exams and both get the shock of their life as their class mate Ajith[Anand] came first. For Balu, his ego maybe hurt with Mahalakshmi getting the first rank the last time but there is no way another student can take it. So the both of them set their rivalry aside and work up a plan to distract Ajith. But he's not the only one that gets distracted as the two spend more and more time together studying albeit with a few encounters on the personal side. Everything seems to go smoothly and as according to plan, Balu gets first rank. Celebrations are in order and the family members, who are by now aware of the private canoodling, plan for an engagement announcement on the day of the party when Balu gets a bout of jealousy as Mahalakshmi casually praises Ajith who missed out only by a few marks. Words become insults and with their guests and parents as witness, Balu and Mahalakshmi have a massive fight and the pair part ways. Yet only 3 years on, circumstances bring them back together. Has time healed all wounds? Have Balu and Maahalakshmi changed themselves? To find out, you will have to watch the moview.

First thing's first. Naga Chaitanya, who is only three films old and has thus far made some interesting choices with his films, is absolutely adorable as Balu. Personally, I could even say this is by far the most perfectly suited rôle for him. The arrogance, the dismissal, the attitude, the frustration. At every point, Balu has the face of Naga Chaitanya and that is all you see. Some may feel he is a little stiff at certain points but given that everyone has quirks and habits, this only adds to his appeal and I myself have come across real people that have rarely faced failure and get a big head over it. Tamannaah plays the bubbly Mahalakshmi with ease but tends to go OTT with more emotive scenes. She also has tendency of reminding you of an early career stage Kareena Kapoor. However, she looks amazing and has great chemistry with all on screen, including and most importantly, Naga Chaitanya. Anand as Ajith has very little to do even though he is quite important to the story. K.R.Vijaya is elegance on screen and delivers whats needed for her Mahalakshmi Bhama rôle. Naresh has very few scenes in the film but plays it with heart. Vijayakumar is apt in his special appearance. Big special mention to the kiddies in the crew. Each one adorable as hell but unfortunately names aren't available of these little champions. Dharmavarapu Subramaniam, 'Thagubothu' Ramesh, 'Chitram' Sreenu and M S Narayana add to the comedy cocktailfun while the rest are passable.

That leads us to the scene stealer. Sukumar is at it again with his "different" angle on love. Personally, I felt that life has become one big competition to see who's better and with the alarming rate divorces get sanctioned, there is more truth to Sukumar little message than most would believe. But leaving the realistic things aside, his trademark storytelling is evident. Keeping the fun in check and building the drama in proportion, he showcases his talent in abundance. Adding to his awesome screenplay is the superb dialogue. Yes there are some commercialised moments but in all, there were very few in the cinema hall that didn't enjoy such great lines. Music by Devi Sri Prasad almost always has automatic feet-on-the-dancefloor effect and he is back to his old tricks with 100% Love. A Squared. That Is Mahalakshmi and Kallu Kallu Plusu bring out the fun, crazy and melodious side where Diyalo Diyala is a classic item number that is always present on a DSP soundtrack. But the album entirely leaves a major impact. Cinematography by Venkat Prasad is top notch as is editing by Srinivasa Karthik. Both are a huge asset to the film. Leaving us with the negatives of the film remaining.

So what can be wrong with one the most enjoyable flicks in recent times? Not much. Depth in characters could have been extended to avoid a two-character-driven-story feel yet at the same time, the situations become as they are because of the lead characters. The disappearance of Swapna at the climax wedding was overseen but came to the fore when Ajith was shown leaving. A few snips here and there could have done some good but barring that, you will be hard fetched to find anything majorly wrong as the film does entertain and leave you with a satisfied feeling about the money you spent on the tickets. Even if you go looking, it is you that needs to judge if the film reminds you of them or not. 

To me, 100% Love is 50% Fun, 50% Masti and 100% Bindaas. A total time pass film that will have you singing the words and tapping your toes as you get the giggles from the story.


Veera Review

There are some actors that you expect to not stray far from their style of movie making. Of these, there are only a select few that you can tolerate. Ravi Teja is one such actor that has a distinct style. But not to say he doesn't try different things. Films like Neninthe Shambo Shiva Shambo and Shock may not have done well for the the "Mass Maharaja" but they were just a few reasons for the hardcore fans believing he was an actor not just a star. However his latest offering of Veera directed by Ramesh Varma starring Kajal Aggarwal and Taapsee Pannu is one that will test the boundaries of admiration. Read on to find out how.

Veera begins with ACP Shyam [Shyam] standing up against crime and criminals. He bows to none and makes it clear justice will be served. On one such serving, Dhanraj [Rahul Dev]'s son is killed in a misfired shot meant for Shyam. As revenge, Dhanraj kidnaps and kills his son. Although an honest cop, Shyam is human and he starts to question his purpose since he as in the police department is there to protect the innocent when something happens. But when he himself is targeted, what happens? Enter Deva [Ravi Teja]. A stern security set to protect him and his family, he quickly mingles with the family barring Shyam's wife, Satya [Sridevi]. Agitated and irritated by Deva's presence, her disliking is most apparent while the friendly neighbour Aiykee [Taapsee Pannu] forms a liking towards him. Deva develops a rapport with Shyam's young daughter Anjali, and aids Shyam in hiding the truth about his son from his family, Satya holds her tongue from verbalising her annoyance and asking him to leave. But Shyam isn't the only one that is hiding the truth as there is more than meets the eye with Deva. With the threat hanging over his family's head, will Shyam be able to find out the details of this stranger before its too late. Who is he? Where is he from? And whats his connection to Dhanraj? Watch to find out.

Ravi Teja is one actor that I know has the talent to be amazing on screen. Yet his mass form of acting and dialogue delivery is one that does entertain as well. In Veera, the actor delivers his normal antics in a different light as usual. He may have succeeded had it not been for bad writing and a logic lacking screenplay. Taapsee Pannu is one cute actress that I have faith in but her role of Aiykee is limited to say the least. Strutting in designers didn't make her role any more enjoyable but what worse is that your expectations are completely shot and your left asking for more. Result, the actress leaves little to no impact at all. Kajal Aggarwal has more depth in her role but in all honesty, she too has very little to do and has done the bubbly character before, although not in such mass action flick. It would be great if she selected roles that were not only different but she looked the part as well. She puts in her two cents worth but seems completely out of place in some areas. Brahmanandam and Ali try their best to lift up the proceedings with their comedy and succeed to a degree. Sridevi returns after a few years of marital bliss but hams severely. Roja is forgettable while Shyam doesn't get much of a chance this time around to make a mark. However, he is ok when he is on. Supri, Pradeep Rawat and Rahul Dev simply do a repeat show of their former roles. The rest are strictly ok.

Chota K Naidu takes hold of the camera and makes it work in his favour where possible with some amazing visuals of Europe and nice handy work on onshore shots. However the good points pretty much stop there. Music by Thaman S is strictly ok and have a serious sense of deja vu. Background score does perk it up a bit as compensation but not high enough to count. Editing by Gautham Raju could have been much better but in his defence, the real culprit is the main man, Ramesh Varma. His lack of direction, in more ways than one, really brought down this film. Yes it is an action based film so it wont be accepted by everyone and some hardcore fans will love the bloody screens and graphic violence that is present in abundance. But even the good points of the film struggle to bring the film over the border. For Veera, logic has not just gone for a stroll in the cinematic liberties park,  it is non-existant. Major loopholes in logic not only drag out the film but lose the audience entirely on occasion because of disbelief. On top of this, the dialogue simply did not evoke enough emotion to engage the audience. Due to this lack of emotion, at times, it would seem the casting was completely wrong for the melodramatic screenplay and OTT dialogue.

So what does it leave us the audience with? A half-baked film that only entertains in bits.

Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Manmadhudu Marathon

Holidays are a great time to catch up on movies you've missed. In my case, I got a chance to watch some old Nagarjuna flicks, courtesy of my own scavanging and a DVD combo with his latest Ragada. Unlike my usual review, this is total fangirl type reviewing so I am more biased than usual. I will attempt to be tame but no promises :P First up was Ragada but since I have already reviewed it, we move on to the next. [But I must say he looked awesome in Ragada :)]

So we continue on with a classic that was Allari Alludu. A film about the common man teaching a lesson to his Goliath or in this case, a son avenges his father honour by becoming the son-in-law of the enemy. Nag really looks like he is having fun instead of acting. Meena and Nagma add the glamour in desi and non-style respectively. But in all honesty, I kind of felt the film's item number with Ramya Krishnan had more appeal than the two. But that could be from the chemistry they share. Anyways, main man Nag is his mass-ive best in this film with his trusty sidekick Brahmanandam. Don't look for logic, since in most cases, there is none. A fun flick with ample dosage of everything including overacting sentimental scenes and flying fights scenes. Classic stuff.

Next up was Hello Brother. I saw this film first in Tamil and loved it to smithereens. Then found out it was a dubbed film and since normal CDs were hard to come by at the time, I had no chance of finding the music for it. A totally fun, revenge comedy that is based on one of Jackie Chan's flicks, I think the adaptation is perfect for our kind of cinema. And the fact it went to Hindi with Salman Khan is a double treat. Twins lost at birth must come together to stop a revenge that will cost them their individual families and their father's life. Forgetting the logic once again, the lovelies include Ramya who is vivacious and fun as Mangatayaru and Soundarya who is adorably innocent as Ooha. Even if its one song, we also have Aamani, Indraja and Rambha shaking it up. Apparently this is the first time Rambha was seen on screen for the Kannipettaro song. Brahmi and Sri Hari aren't the only comedians with Mallikarjun, Kota Srinivasa Rao and host of others coming in to add to the drama. If the dialogue has you in splits, the songs will get your feet tapping and humming away. 

After suggestion flew back and forth on twitter from my dear friend Navya and go-to info person/freelance writer Hemanth, comes Gharana Bullodu. Another film that I saw it Tamil first and feel in love with the songs more than the movie at that tender age that I can't even remember. But the tunes of Bheemavaram Bulloda and Adhirindiro are definitely hummable even now for anyone. Of course it another David-Goliath kind of story but more than recapping the film, I watched it to bring back the Surru Summaipoddhi dialogue that was made famous by this film. Aamani and Ramya Krishnan play the leading ladies with Aamani silently going the background after a while and Ramya Krishnan taking over. I still remember nagging my mum for the silver skirt that she wore in Jaabilli. Another mass film from Nag but just as enjoyable if you forget the logic again. However I think this one showcases a more flexible Nag in Bheemavaram. No? Or maybe thats me going gaga again. :D

The last but never ever least that I had time for [considering I started in the morning on the previous day and was still up and running 28 hours later] was Ninne Pelladatha. This has to be one of my most watched films top 5 but even now equally enjoyed film. My mum felt this had a bit of DDLJ in it but I frankly didn't care. Nag and Tabu have some amazing chemistry that at certain point I had to turn the fan on for how hot they were. I know he had a mullettish thing happening but he pulled it off for the most part. And seriously, can Tabu be any more elegant and fun at the same time? But yet again, the love started in Tamil so kudos to the lyricists and writers. With either version, you still could find me in tears from laughter or drama [yes, I'm that emotional]. But what can I say. Its a family drama about two families that are split by one marriage and rejoined by another. Lots of fun, laughs, and great music. A total family entertainer and this time for a change no Ramya Krishnan.

So thats the list. Nothing major in terms of heavy duty stories but each one keeps your attention and entertains years after the films were released. But it did get me thinking that they don't make actresses like Ramya Krishnan or Tabu or the late and my beloved Soundarya anymore. Sad since I love them so much. On another train of thought, I felt in one way Nag's influence is bigger in the Tamil industry during those years since there were constant dubbed releases that reached overseas shores but this could have also been because of many never reaching the corner shop. Regardless, he is one actor you can depend on for big class and bigger mass flicks. Wonder how I am going to handle it when he retires.. :( But thats another matter to deal with IF it happens. Hope you enjoyed reading. If you haven't caught any of these films, make a trip online or to your local and BUY a copy. But don't forget to leave your thinking caps aside to enjoy the Manmadhudu Madness.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Engeyum Kadhal Review

Love stories are perhaps one of the most retold stories in cinematic history. Within TFI, there is a love angle in pretty every story you come across. What's the few that escape this, have a mini-story in the flashback at least. For director Prabhudheva [he's changed his spelling], he has already swooned the Telugu audience with Nuvvanthanante Nenuvoddhantana but he has yet to show his charm to the Tamil audience after making a smashing entry with Pokkirri and Villu. Engeyum Kadhal brings together Hansika Motwani and "Jayam" Ravi Mohan in lead roles supported by Suman and Raju Sundaram with Harris Jeyaraj for music, Anthony for editing and Nirav Shah for cinematography. So what's it about? Read on.

The movie opens with the city of love, Paris. At every corner, at every street, Love is everywhere. No conditions, no restrictions. Just love. While the world sees Paris this way, Kamal [Ravi Mohan] sees it as his getaway place. After slaughtering it out for 11 months of the year in India, Paris is his destination for fun, frolic and female companions. The last thing he has on his mind is love. Enter Kayalvizhi [Hansika Motwani]. A firm believer in love, she sees love in every avenue she turns. Including in the cases that come to her private investigator father Rajasekhar [Suman]. So what happens when the believer falls for a non-believer? What lengths would you go to get the one you love to believe? Set in picturesque Paris entirely, Engeyum Kadhal is about how love is literally everywhere, you just need to open your eyes to it.

Honesty is the best policy so in all honesty, this is a very simple story driven by the lead pair "Jayam" Ravi Mohan and Hansika Motwani's performance and chemistry. And for what its worth, the two do quite well. After seeing him in varying roles yet still with a boy-next-door feel, Ravi has come out of this shell and becomes the total charmer Kamal is. Suave and stylish, he looks a million bucks and fits the bill perfectly. Hansika's filmography has some big films in Telugu but this is only her second one in Tamil. Yet, it would be safe to say the actress is going to be the cutie in town as she pouts, giggles, cries and schemes adorably and given she has a "Chinna Khushboo" tag floating, you can appreciate the boys are going to like her but considering when the serious emotions come out, she makes an honest attempt the girls will warm up to her as well. However, she really needs a different dubbing artist than Savitha. Raju Sundaram is back after a long time as an actor and tickles the funny bone with his antics. It would have been nice to give him some more scenes with Ravi but the actor in Raju works with what he has well. Suman as the caring yet friendly father is not there for very long but he cakewalks through his role. Manoj Pawar and newbie KJR are passable. A big hug and special mention to the dancers in Nangai. As short the roles may have been their lip-syncing and expression was just awesome.

With all that said, the main atraction of the film is Paris. Or should I say Nirav Shah's view of Paris. He has shown time and again how he spins his web of magic on seemingly plain locations. But with the city of love in his camera, the man steps up and dazzles Paris like none before. Simply exquisite. Editing by Anthony is his usual best while newcomer R.K. Naguraj's art work well with the film. Nalini Sriram gets a special mention just for the styling of the lead pair which looks great but suited the characters to the T. Background and music by Harris Jeyaraj is as exquisite as the camerawork with my personal favs from the OST being Nenjil Nenjil, Nangai and Engeyum Kadhal. But now to our main man, Prabhudheva. The actor-choreographer-director [he has sung/rapped but we'll leave that for now] is showing maturity in his work whilst still maintain his classic signature. A jovial man in real life, the ease at which he inserts humour into the screenplay is typical of him alone. The simple yet stylish presentation conveys more than most long-winded dialogues. 

Yet Engeyum Kadhal does have its downside. The story by AC Mugil and Ravi Chakkravarthy lacks detail in the most vital points and thus taking away from the connection with the audience. Its not enough to make people laugh when the focus is also on the romance between the leads. While the chemistry is refreshing and new, due to the fallbacks in the writing department, including dialogues by Ravi Chakkravarthy, G. Jayakannan and Premsai, it does falter a bit and lose intensity. 

Rating: 3.5/5. Feel the love and it will entertain. See the logic and it might not.

Mappillai Review

Yesteryear classic have been a source of reference for film-buffs. The good are compared to the current while the bad are used as examples of what not to do. The trends though now are newbie directors starting their career with a rehash of the classics and trying to create the magic for the new century generation. While critics ransack the films and fans of the original slaughter the performances, the new audience is depended on to drive the film. For Suraaj, Mappillai is his return to a hit combo of Dhanush, himself and Mani Sharma after Padikkathavan. For Dhanush, its the one remake of his father-in-law Rajnikanth’s film that he himself wanted to do. A film that did wonders to the original cast and crew’s career, will it work for today’s generation? Read on.

Saravanan [Dhanush] is a role model youngster that’s used as an example in the colony he resides in. Whether its life or discipline, Saravanan is the one that parents go to for advice. But for a group of loafers headed by Child Chinna [Vivek] who’s day job is an amateur fan club for actress Namitha, this proves detrimental to their lazy ways. So with Saravanan agreeing to help as guidance counseller as compensation, Chinna tries  a shortcut to becoming rich by impressing a rich girl with intention of marrying her for money. Enter Gayathri [Hansika Motwani], daughter of Multi-millionaire businesswoman Rajeshwari [Manisha Koirala]. After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting her, Gayathri develops a soft corner for Saravanan instead which he initially rejects but then succumbs to later. But not before her mother finds out. Now for Rajeshwari, it is the female that should rule the roost so the timid, religious yet “cultured” Saravanan may be poor in financial terms but he is perfect for her daughter in demure nature and gives her the leverage that she wants over him. Wedding preparations get under way and everything seems fine until one of the guests drops a bombshell on Rajeshwari. The simple sweet Saravanan she selected is in fact a hot headed ruffian who has been banished from his home town for the constant fights he has. Determined to not be upstaged and that to by what she calls a "low class male", Rajeshwari quickly tries to change the groom in time for the wedding she planned but Saravanan is not going to make it easy for his proud mother in law. So while he does end up marrying Gayathri, what pursues is a game of tit for tat as this mother-in-law and son-in-law battle it out to see who will win their challenge.

On the onset the director makes no bones about how he has planned his film. No intricate storyline or screenplay, just mad masala magic with punch dialogues, ridiculous fights and humour in a large dose. For Dhanush, this is another Padikkaathavan and he cakewalks through the film. His comic timing becomes more apparent with each film and it’s pleasing to see him flaunt it. Considering the content of the hyped up mass hero story, it definitely is refreshing to see an actor go for a bit of self-mockery in the midst to heighten the proceedings. Hansika Motwani debuts in Tamil and is the typical beautiful girl who doesn't do very much. In her defence, the role is very limited but her lip syncing and general over-reaction does not help her at all and she becomes irritating and worse, easily forgettable. Manisha Koirala is not new to Tamil so she needs no introduction. However, for such an outstanding actress, this film is a far cry from her Bombay days. Even Mudhalvan had a little more spectrum for someone of her caliber but with that aside, Manisha puts in her two bits and makes the most of it especially in her scenes in the village and her confrontations with Dhanush. Vivek tries his best to play on his ever youthful entourage and the comedy duo that sparked a new hit jodi with Dhanush but with Manobala in the mix as well. Ashish Vidhyarthi, Pattimandram Raja, Sri Ranjani and Sathyan Sivakumar are apart of the cast and respectfully do their 3-4 scenes and move on.

While it would be unfair to not state the positives on the technical side, this is one film that blurs the lines of my infamous structure so please bare with me. On the technical front, camerawork by S.R.Satishkumar does his best to dazzle the locale and with general visualisation while T.Kishore needs to be a bit more liberal in his editing. Several time, scenes dragged out for a lot longer than needed. Mani Sharma may be a talented music director that has many amazing tracks to his name but when he reuses his own tracks from various Telugu films to form one OST, it lacks the passion and creativity. Aaru Padai is mostly hummable. Suraaj’s dialogue usually is dependable to evoke humour and he does in parts but whatever good he does in his dialogue gets overshadowed by his poor form in story and screenplay writing. But given that the director isn’t the type of director that boasts of intellectual kind of filmmaking in his filmography and has made no qualms about his intention, can you still say Mappillai works? Unfortunately, the answer is more no than yes as the big loopholes and general lack of movement simply bores. I haven’t seen the original with Rajnikanth in a long time so rest assured this isn’t from a comparative point of view. Even so, director Suraaj has missed the mark this time as the waifer thin storyline lacks the punch needed to keep the audience engaged and the spark that his previous films had regardless of their tried and tested content goes missing in Mappillai

Rating: 2.5/5. Its all about the masala and the money it makes. Each of his films has shown this and it would be silly to expect anything less. But it could have been so much better.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vaanam Review

How does one take a film like Vaanam? Granted the original has been out for quite some time and had a shock value to it that Vaanam doesn't but does a remake of a good film amount to an automatic success story if the director is the same. Not always. The critically acclaimed film Vedam, written and directed by Krish in Telugu, was prominent not just its content but the fact it boasts of a star cast of Allu Arjun, Manchu Manoj Babu, Anushka Shetty, Manoj Bajpai, Saranya and Nagayya. Considering multi-starrers are only now making a comeback in TFI, the cast alone got people’s attention as each played a special part in a 5 story screenplay. After the film’s release, detractors were apparent but the general consensus was of positive reviews for the film. For its remake, Vaanam, the cast changes slightly with Simbhu in Arjun’s role, Bharath in Manoj’s and Prakashraj in Manoy Bajpai’s role while Anushka and Saranya return to reprise their roles from the original. However, I was fearful that when the makers of the film “adapted” the story to the Tamil audience, the 'heart' that I fell in love with for the original film would get lost. Director Krish has gone on record to say only slight changes have been made since this was a universal story about the human spirit, he was confident it would work. Read on to find out if it did.

Bharath[Bharath] is a guitarist and front man for a band based in Bangalore. Doubling up as his friends as well, he and his band members aspire to make it big and land their first gig in front of a large audience in Chennai. But thanks to Bharath's carelessness they miss their flight. Cut acress to Tutincorin, Ramayya and his daughter in law Lakshmi[Saranya] are silk weavers from a poor family background in a rural area. Since both are uneducated, they take out loans from the local loan sharks in an attempt to get Lakshmi’s son Paandi a proper education but are unable to pay it off the interest. Pressure is further mounted on them by the loan shark who takes Paandi custody until they pay it off. From here we move to Sulurpet. An area close to the Andhra Pradesh - Tamil Nadu border where Saroja [Anushka Shetty] is a prostitute that gets paid big money but hardly sees any of it. Fed up with her mistress' cruel ways, she plans with her man friday in Chennai to get away and start her own brothel but has to wait for him to call once everything is set. In Coimbatore, Rahim [Prakashraj] receives a call from his family doctor to say his wife Zara [Sonia Aggarwal] is  pregnant again. Excited about the news, he also finds out that his missing brother has been seen in Chennai. As he and his wife board the bus, the painful past which holds the reasons for his sorrow filled happiness unfold as they go in search of his brother. And lastly, we then shift to Raja alias Cable Raja [Simbhu], a cable tv contractor living in the Chennai slums, he dreams of big cars, bigger houses and even bigger bank balances. Money on the mind and no way to earn it he manages to convince his multi-millionaire heiress girlfriend Priya[Jasmine] who is unaware of his financial status, that he is well off also. However, convincing Priya is only half the well crossed. The next and final one is to convince the parents and that too, at an expensive New Year party he needs to buy the tickets for. 

We begin with the introduction of these 5 separate stories. Each is different in location and in lifestyle. But each finds their way to the streets of Chennai insearch of something.While it would seem each none of these individuals will ever meet, destiny has something else in mind. Their individuals searches will see them scratch and fight for what they want and need. Yet, it is also their individual searches that will see them face to face with a common enemy. As reality hits them these commoners, lessons will be learnt, lives will be lost and the human spirit will be tested.

As mentioned, I loved the original film Vedam so I had to try hard to keep the screenplay and performances out of my head. But comparisons aside, Krish has done well with his choice of cast. Simbhu has a very hard image to crack and is showing honest attempts at trying to break away from it. For the actor-director, his portrayal of Cable Raja is both fun and earnest with the actor excelling in the penultimate 20 minutes as he cruises through anxiety, shock, remorse and courage. It would have helped if the comedy sequences between him and Santhanam was downplayed to the same degree but he does induce more than a few laughs at his mock T.Rajendhar act. Speaking of which, Santhanam is his usual best and may have another hit Jodi with Simbhu on his hands. However, the actor does need to work on his emotional skills. Anushka Shetty reprises her role so there isn’t anything new about it but she plays it convincingly. The last time I saw Bharath play his role so effortlessly was in Pattiyal and he plays the rock star role like a rock star whether it be mannerisms or swag. Vega Tamotia has a significant yet small role of Bharath’s girlfriend and back bone that she does with ease as well as looks apt for. Prakashraj steps away from his bad guy persona and plays a victim of malicious behaviour with his usual élan. Sonia Aggarwal’s role restricts the actress in her come back vehicle and is quite small for someone that has had a fair few prominent film in her filmography. Saranya Ponvannan and the actor who plays her father in law fit the bill perfectly. Radha Ravi is brief while VTV Ganesh evokes much humour. 

When it comes to a multi-story screenplay, it takes one slip with up by the director and you will confuse the audience. Thankfully, Krish has moved from his Gamyam days and shows maturity as he gives each story the same amount of time and importance. Kudos to him and writer Gnanagiri for maintaining the emotion whilst adapting. At the same time the changes that were made in the screenplay came as a surprise and that too a welcomed one in the case of Rahim's story. I did note though that the general feel of the film became less intense than that of the original. However, this doesn't hinder the pace or structure. Editing by Anthony is clean and crisp while Nirav Shah and Gnanasekaran's camerawork remains honest without overriding the screenplay. Music by Yuvan Shankar Raja is always something to look forward to. But this time I would say Yuvan has missed the mark a little. Vaanam and Who am I are the saving grace in a bass beat dominated soundtrack that is strictly ok while M.M. Keeravani's track for Anushka Egari Pothe is dubbed. 

Lets be honest, whether you look at Vedam or Vaanam, it’s not perfect. The character development for Priya [Jasmine] and Zara could have been worked out better since they lacked importance in the original as well. However, in the case of Jasmine, she was a severe let down in the acting department and her dubbing artist did not help her at all. Add to this having an actor like Jayaprakash play the role of the terrorist feels like such a waste considering his potential. Also, as crisp as the editing was, there were a few shots that could have been trimmed back a little more. At times the dialogue seemed like just a translation from Telugu than an adaptation but these moments are few so it can be excused. 

Rating: 3/5. All in all, Krish has recreated the film with the heart that I fell for. Even if it did make me laugh a little louder, it also made me feel the same as before.

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